NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former Tennessee First Lady Leslee Kathryn Buhler Alexander, known as Honey, has died at the age of 77, according to a statement made by the family.

In a statement, the Alexander family said the former first lady passed away on October 29 surrounded by family at their home in Maryville. 

Honey was the wife of former Tennessee Governor and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. She was born October 12, 1945, in Los Angeles, California and was the second oldest of five children. 

The former senator and first lady moved to Nashville in August 1970 with their 11-month-old son. Honey served as Tennessee’s First Lady from 1979 to 1987. 

During her role as first lady, she led the statewide Healthy Children Initiative with the goal of providing prenatal health care for every child.  The former first lady was also a member of the 1985-1986 Southern Regional Task Force on Infant Mortality, the Governor’s Task Forces on Day Care and on Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and the U.S. Health Secretary’s Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. 

In 1976, Honey co-founded Leadership Nashville, an organization that looks to broaden and diversify the leaders who make decisions regarding the growth in Nashville. 

The former first lady campaigned during Former Senator Lamar Alexander’s six races for governor and U.S. Senator, served eight years as First Lady, moved to Knoxville when Lamar was University of Tennessee president and then to Washington, D.C., when he was United States Education Secretary and Senator.

Honey Alexander is survived by her husband of 53 years, Lamar Alexander; three children, nine grandchildren, her brothers and her sisters.

The Alexander family states there will be a private graveside service for family members at the family cemetery at Hesse Creek Chapel in Walland, Tennessee. A memorial service will be held later at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville. Dates for both services were not immediately provided.

Instead of flowers, the Alexander family stated that memorials may be made to the Honey Alexander Center, located at 2400 Clifton Avenue in Nashville.